“I was working in a mattress factory, sitting there eight hours, and watching the truck drivers go out in the morning and come back in the afternoon. And I was sitting there all day…I decided to get my driver’s license and do what they were doing. Going out.”
With that same sense of determination, Juan has been driving with J.B. Hunt for 27 years.
Living in Northern California, Juan began his journey with J.B. Hunt over the road. After two years of traveling across 48 states, Juan transferred to intermodal where he worked until he ultimately found his place as a dedicated driver and trainer. Through it all, Juan proudly holds 1.7 million safe miles.
Juan says he’s found a home with J.B. Hunt because of the way drivers are treated. He recalls a phrase he heard from J.B. Hunt himself that has left a remarkable impact: “If you treat your drivers right you have a company, if you don’t treat your drivers right you have no company.” For Juan, treating people with respect is where the company begins.
Juan reciprocates the act of “treating others right” by the way he handles interactions with customers. Adam, regional operations manager for DCS in Northern California, says of Juan’s customer relationships, “The customer definitely enjoys him. They value him. Anytime they hear Juan is on it, they know he is on top of it. They kind of think of him as one of their own.”
Juan humbly explains his thoughts behind the driver-customer relationship: “One manager asked me ‘How come all of the customers are asking for Juan to be their delivery driver’- well, because I treat my customers like diamonds. If I treat them like that, they are gonna treat me like that. So, if I ever run into a customer with a problem, first thing I call my dispatcher and let my dispatcher take care of whatever the problem is.”
And that’s not the only return that Juan receives. Many drivers embrace Juan as their teacher who instilled confidence in them during their training period. “What I like the most is training people. That’s one of my favorite things to do. And most importantly of all, I like to drive. Not everyone is made for driving.”
Juan explains further, “The thing I like most from training people is I learn from them and they learn from me, and I like to get to know different personalities and I like to listen to their stories because everyone has a story.” Adam adds in, “Juan is a senior driver and one of the best drivers we have at the account. He is a mentor for other drivers, and drivers look up to him. They ask him various questions and call him as needed. He is a great asset to all our drivers, not only new but all of the existing drivers.”
With dedicated driving in general, Juan feels at home knowing that he has a schedule, being able to plan out each week and enjoying daily home time. Building up time off is another benefit, as each year Juan and his wife of 45 years, Martha, plan out a vacation to visit family back home in Mexico.
Juan’s day-to-day responsibilities vary as he drives with the dedicated division and serves as a driver “super” trainer. Juan is known for stepping in and assisting fellow dedicated accounts when needed. He says he enjoys the opportunity to learn more and finds comfort in “knowing there is always work to do.”
On learning the variances of each account he helps with, he says, “Every account is different, yes. And every account has a different challenge. And I like a challenge.”
On his regular account, drivers generally make their own schedules with a 12-hour window to make deliveries. Juan appreciates the ease of no-touch freight and drop and hook deliveries while driving doubles. Juan makes runs out of Hayward, CA to 50 different locations – to Fresno in the south, to Reno, NV in the east, and to Medford, OR in the north, to name a few. Flexibility in his schedule is key as Juan enjoys having his choice to work from early afternoon to early morning. He says, “I love that schedule because the minute I get home and stop my truck, once my head hits that pillow, I’m gonna be out.”
When asked what he would tell someone considering a new driving job, he says, “I tell them to come onto J.B. Hunt, that it’s a great company, pays good, good equipment, good maintenance on the equipment and you don’t have to worry about if your paycheck is short. It never happens here. Good benefits, good people to work with, I don’t have any problems with my dispatchers and managers or anybody. I think it is a great company to work with.”
With such a respectable career thus far, it’s no surprise that Juan has earned several notable awards. He was selected as Driver of the Region for December 2017 and was invited to the kickoff dinner in LA. On the experience, he says, “That was a great party; I loved it…they made us walk in on a red carpet, and I was the last one. And I went around and sat at my table, and when I was sitting at my table, Mr. Craig Harper came up to me and shook hands with me, and I was so embarrassed because I didn’t know what to say. It was great. I had no words for him, and he thanked me for my service to the company. I thought that was a great, great, great time. I mean it was beautiful.” In 2018, Juan was selected as the Driver of the Region for the month of July.
When he’s not working, Juan can be found spending time among the succulents and hummingbirds that are abundant in his garden. He says, “I love that, I can stay all day. All my off time, I can spend that on my garden. Yes, I love that.” Juan is very proud of his two daughters and wife, Martha, who support him at home when he’s been on the road.
Whether driving, training, traveling or spending time at home, Juan has found a job that motivates him. From the early decision to get his license, Juan dreamed of “going” and now, 27 years later, he tells us “I am always going to have miles or freight to move. I won’t be sitting waiting to be dispatched. Nope not here.”
If you’d like to learn which driving jobs we have available in your area or more details about our Dedicated Contract Services division, give us a call at 1-877-791-9458 to speak with a recruiter or fill out our pre-qual form and we’ll contact you!
To hear more about Juan’s experience, check out this video!